Not many involved can remember a Transpac without a Pyewacket sailing and Disney family involvement. The Steeles have always done their part on the Los Angeles and Honolulu ends of the race. The Comyns, Kilroys, Eddys, Garniers, Hogans and many other families have not only sailed many Transpacs, they have been on the board of Transpacific Yacht Club, a non-profit, volunteer organization.
Upon crossing the finish line off of Diamond Head, everyone who is not already a member of the Transpacific Yacht Club automatically becomes eligible for membership. Growing the club means opening up the opportunity having this experience of a lifetime to others, especially the next generation. This year, there are several boats with youthful, strong and enthusiastic crews.
Pyewacket has its stable afterguard and it also has a bumper crop of Morning Light kids. Akin to the Brat Pack, it’s a term of endearment, which they will never outgrow. Piet Van Os is navigating his second Transpac. Jeremy Wilmot is trimming the main and Jesse Fielding is on the bow for their second Transpacs.
Kate Theisen and Graham Brant-Zawadski who were alternates to the Morning Light team that sailed the 2007 Transpac and trained with the kids who made the crossing up until the Aloha Send-off, are going the distance this time and sailing aboard the tall ship, The Lynx.
Morning Light heroine, Jenny Tulloch, returns on Ragtime. Tulloch is addicted to offshore sailing and to match racing. Since the 2007 Transpac she has sailed the Tahiti Race on Ragtime and has shot to the top of the US Women’s Match Racing rankings. She has the touch on the helm to get extra speed out of Ragtime like no one else.
Jay and Joe Crum have spent what must seem like months working on Flash, bounding from dock to deck with parts, sails and sealants to prepare her for the Transpac. Paul Cayard and his son Danny and daughter Allie are onboard for their second sail to Hawaii in as many years.
Reinrag2 sits on dry land for most of the year and comes out for the sled races. Kevin and LaShawna are part of the latest generation of Garniers celebrating the 4th of July in the middle of the Pacific with Tom.
Westerly is completely a friends and family boat. Tom and Tim Hogan, brothers who have sailed Etchells together for years, have one son each on board. L.J. Edgecomb, who sailed on Courageous with Ted Turner, has his two sons pulling their weight on Westerly also.
Standing out in the crowd of teenagers and twenty-something’s is Lindsey Austin. During the 2007 Transpac, Austin, a native of Hawaii, was the youngest person ever to win a division in the century of Transpac racing. She was 22 at the time. This year she is at the helm of her stepfather’s boat. Richard Blackburn has adapted well to crewing for Lindsey. Lindsey, who shoots from the hip and sometimes sails by the seat of her pants, appreciates having her mother Donna, who is also a very accomplished sailor, on board for her wise and cautious recommendations.
It can take weeks to sail 2,225 nautical miles across the Pacific in a 35 to 80-foot boat. It takes maturity and trust on everyone’s part to take off for the incredible journey from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The race is much more than going for a road trip with the kids in the back of the car idling away the hours and repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet?” The Transpac is a special rite of passage and a bond for life among immediate and extended family and friends that has endured for over a century.
Photos by Rick Rosen
Peter Tong's grandchildren on the deck of OEX, his Santa Cruz 70.
Paul, Allie and Danny Cayard on Flash for Transpac 09.